"Fake" Tea Party On Ballot

By: John Lund Email
By: John Lund Email

With the July 14 filing of close to 60,000 signatures, the Tea Party is set to appear on ballots across Michigan this fall.

But no so fast, say members of the Michigan Tea Party Alliance. They claim that those signatures were probably gathered under false pretenses.

Jim Lefler, a member of the Southwest Michigan Tea Party Patriots, one of dozens of groups under the Michigan Tea Party Alliance said "we're concerned that a number of the signatures were collected unwittingly from people that were not properly explained what this tea party really was. We consider it to be a sham organization."

Members of the Michigan Tea Party Alliance rallied on the Capitol Building's steps before testifying at meeting of the Michigan Board of Canvassers. Their mission? Get rid of that party.

"We beleive that they are trying to syphon away votes from candidates that we would like to support," said Lefler.

Michael Hodge, the lawyer representing Mark Steffek, who filed the petition, said he is confident in the signatures.

"It will be determined that significant valid signatures appear on the petition to qualify the tea party to be on the ballot in November," Hodge told the board.

Tea party members and supporters are worried that if the new party stays on the ballot it will lead to mass confusion come November.

"Increases our workload in terms of educating the people of Michigan of just who this tea party really is," Lefler said.

Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Mike Bouchard stopped by the rally in support of the tea partiers.

"[Those who filed the petition] want confusion, they want people to think this is the legit Tea Party," Bouchard said. "The Tea Party is not trying to establish a party status. They are trying to move government. They are trying to retake control of the government for the people.

To certify the validity of the signatures, the Board of Canvassers ruled that a random sample of 64 percent of the people who signed the petition must be completed by Aug. 13.

Lefler said he is prepared to go to court should the signatures be deemed valid.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by West Oakland TPP Location: Milford on Jul 26, 2010 at 01:20 PM
    I was at the rally and happy to see Bill Schuette and MIKE BOUCHARD there in our support. Guess who gets MY vote!!!
  • by Rob Location: Kzoo on Jul 26, 2010 at 07:38 AM
    This fake party would only work if real Tea Partiers didn't already know who they were supporting, I suspect most Tea Partiers not only know who they're voting for but, have made sure all of their friends, relatives and coworkers know as well.
  • by Eric G Rothoff Location: Jackson on Jul 25, 2010 at 07:34 PM
    Normally for a petition it really doesn't matter much, because the voters still have to vote on the item. Here, we have fraud to create a new party, that does not have an election to confirm the validity of the idea. That being said, the ruling by the board of canvassers is the best that we could expect. The board does not have the power to completely invalidate the form (In this case, because the party is not a part of the "official" tea party movement.) Instead, they set VERY stringent rules for verification of the sample. (There is no way they would have been able to do such a stringent verification on the whole set.) The elections committee will be checking the signatures to see that they match, and if any of the people in the sample signed the petition twice, then they would be removed as well. (But that would probably be needed to challenge before that happens, as the election committee, to my knowledge is not checking all of the names that signed.) Remember, this is step 1
  • by Anonymous on Jul 24, 2010 at 07:29 PM
    Deception happens every election. A few years ago, the jackson public library tried to pass a millage. They were expecting a low voter turnout with no other items on the ballot. The millage was profoundly defeated because the voters were aware of the deception.
  • by Jen Location: Lansing on Jul 24, 2010 at 08:12 AM
    I believe in the TEA PARTY, but we need to listen hard to whatever is being said,we can"t afford to get wrong people in office, we have to bring Michigan back,lets do our home work.check the track record of everyone,we want someone who will bring change that will bring our jobs back,give us America back.Lets not put up with anythig less.
  • by CaroTeaParty Location: Caro MI on Jul 23, 2010 at 07:50 PM
    Local, although you are right that everyone should read what they are signing, the people who marketed those petitions falsely represented themselves as being part of our tea party groups, furthering the deception that exists here from the beginning. Just because it was signed by someone who failed to read the petition, does not negate the wrong the petition canvassers propagated. Since when has basic right and wrong been turned off in our society and how can you justify what took place as being ok?
  • by Local on Jul 23, 2010 at 05:17 PM
    If a potential voter signed a petition to put someone or something on the ballot and did not carefully check out what they were signing for, they deserve to be duped. It is your responsibility to know what you are signing.
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